Minister of Gender, Jean Sendeza, who is leading the Malawi delegation to the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York, United States of America has assured the General Assembly of the CSW that the Malawi Government under the leadership of President Dr Lazarus Chakwera is committed to promoting women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in innovation.
Sendeza said while realising that technology is a gateway to accessing information and services and to participating in all spheres of life, emphasized the need to make sure that other people’s rights are not infringed upon, especially women and girls, by the same technology through cyberbullying.
In her statement, Sendeza said just like many many other African countries, digitalisation in Malawi is hampered by structural challenges such as access to electricity, poor internet connectivity and sometimes even weak infrastructure, high cost of gadgets, and the limited ability of individuals to use the digital solutions.
While in New York, Sendeza also attended this year’s International Day of Women at the UN Headquarters.
“In Malawi, we celebrated the day under the theme ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality’. We have called upon Malawians to act, set agendas and goals in our bid to achieve gender equality and end Gender Based Violence,” said Sendeza.
On 7 March 2023, Sendeza had an opportunity to join other 30 ministers from various countries at a ministerial breakfast organised by the World Bank Group.
The event was organised to foster dialogue between the World Bank Group and the United Nations Member States on shaping the 2024-2030 update to the WBG Gender Strategy, and it created a convenient platform where strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats were presented to achieve Gender Equality.
During the interaction, Sendeza pointed out that it is easy to achieve gender equality in urban compared to rural areas. She said Economic empowerment for women in rural areas, is one critical area that needs exclusive attention if gender equality is to be achieved.
Later on the same day, Sendeza participated in a high-level panel discussion that was hosted by UNFPA, with other panellists from Belgium, Georgia, Jordan, Zambia, Kenya, the USA and Colombia. The event focused on the use of digital technology as a catalyst for ending Gender Based Violence against women and girls.
In the evening, Sendeza proceeded to deliver a keynote address on another side event organized by the Global Fund for Widows. She said widowhood is another critical gender issue, yet neglected but affects 300 million women and 500 million of their children.
She said widows are subjected to loss of income and status, especially those in the rural areas who suffer vulnerability the most.
On this, the Gender Minister who is accompanied by various officials from her ministry pleaded with the development partners to consider supporting deliberate projects that can address the challenges widows are facing.
“It is a great opportunity for Malawi, to participate in these high-level discussions as it will create a good platform for women to speak out on the challenges they are facing and involve men as champions in achieving gender equality,” said Sendeza.
The meeting is expected to run up to 17th March 2023 and it seeks to close the digital gender gap that keeps more girls and women offline hence denying them various opportunities.
Reported by Mayeso Chikhadzula, MBC Online Services.